Tulsa Health Department

Facebook / City of Tulsa Gov

At a Thursday press conference, local officials said concern is growing alongside COVID-19 infections as more Tulsa County children catch the novel coronavirus.

"In the 5-to-17 age group, there were over 100 cases last week," Tulsa Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said, adding that some in that age group were hospitalized.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Saying the science is clear that children 10 and older can spread and be sickened by the novel coronavirus, the director of the Tulsa Health Department recommended the Tulsa City Council amend the city's COVID-19 mask ordinance to apply to those 10 and above rather than just those 18 and above.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

One day after Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department, called for all municipalities in Tulsa County to introduce a mask mandate similar to the city of Tulsa's to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, officials in some of those cities and towns showed no indication they plan to take the guidance.

"We have discussed it, and the Bixby council is not willing to pass a mask mandate at this time," said Bixby Mayor Brian Guthrie. 

Should schools reopen? Should we be playing (or practicing) team sports right now? And which type of mask is the safest one to wear? On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we speak about these and other matters with Dr. Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa City-County Health Department. Dr. Dart, who last appeared on our show back in March, offers an update on COVID-19 in our community at present.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

It was an exclusive meeting.

After abundant anticipation of a visit to Oklahoma by Dr. Deborah Birx from the White House coronavirus task force since President Trump announced it earlier this month, at the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa on Sunday, she was kept separated from the public, the media, and even the director of the Tulsa Health Department.

Union Public Schools

This story was updated at 12:34 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11th, to note that board president Heather McAdams' hypothetical math is incorrect.

In a 3-2 vote, the Union Public Schools board of education voted against the recommendations of the Tulsa Health Department and their own superintendent that the school year begin virtually due to the severity of Tulsa County's COVID-19 outbreak.

Superintendent Kirt Hartzler and Associate Superintendent Charlie Bushyhead both made their case for the recommendation not to allow a return to in-person learning just yet.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa County continues to see "widespread virus" in the community, as delays in testing contribute to difficulties in properly responding to the pandemic, according the Tulsa Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart.

At a press conference Tuesday at Tulsa Police Department headquarters, Dart said that testing laboratories are "swamped," leading to numbers from the Oklahoma State Department of Health that may be less useful due to being dated.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

With new coronavirus infections increasing more rapidly among younger people than other demographics, Dr. Bruce Dart of the Tulsa Health Department said that the return to school for districts in Tulsa County should be all-virtual for now due to the severity of the local outbreak.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Updated Aug. 4, 12:05 p.m. to correct "Cox Business Center" to "Cox Business Convention Center."

One month after their controversial booking of President Trump's 6,000-person reelection rally, representatives of the BOK Center and the Cox Business Convention Center in downtown Tulsa are expressing worry over how hard it is to keep events on the schedule.

Our guest on ST Medical Monday is Dr. Jennifer Clark, a Visiting Associate Professor of Community Health at TU's Oxley College of Health Sciences; she teaches in TU's Health Care Delivery Science Program. Dr. Clark is also a contributor/commentator for the ongoing, thrice-weekly Project ECHO updates regarding COVID-19. These online, open-to-the-public updates, originating from Oklahoma State University and freely streamable, are medically-driven information sessions presented by a multi-institutional array of doctors and scientists.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa County on Wednesday again broke a record for most new confirmed COVID-19 infections reported in a single day, and, as the spread continues to worsen, officials said they are discussing the possibility of making the wearing of masks mandatory and enforceable by law.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — For most mayors in deep-red states like Oklahoma, the prospect of hosting the first rally for President Donald Trump in months would be a delight. It would showcase the city on an international stage and draw revenue for local businesses that have been shuttered for months amid the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Sen. James Lankford

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) spoke with KWGS News' Chris Polansky on Monday, June 15th, about police reform following last month's killing of George Floyd, Black Tulsans' outrage over President Trump's initial Juneteenth date for a Tulsa rally (and his role in getting it changed), whether he thinks the rally should continue despite warnings from local and federal public health experts, and whether he intends to wear a mask to the rally.

Full transcript:

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported Sunday that 158 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 bring the state's total number of confirmed infections to 8,231. No new deaths were reported; 359 Oklahomans are confirmed to have died from complications caused by the novel coronavirus.

Tulsa County had 39 of the new reported cases, bringing the county total to 1,564 confirmed infections since the start of the pandemic. 62 Tulsa County residents are known to have died.

6,578 Oklahomans are reported to have recovered. 

Tulsa Health Department

One week before President Donald Trump is scheduled to host a campaign rally at Tulsa's BOK Center, local and national health experts are warning that large indoor gatherings have the potential to further worsen the still-growing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Tulsa Flag

Tulsa and the rest of Oklahoma officially moved to phase three of reopening Monday, lifting several more restrictions implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

In Tulsa, events can resume without size limits, outdoor park amenities and dog parks can be used again, community centers are reopening, and businesses that were operating by appointment only can start taking walk-in customers. 

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said people must remain vigilant in taking safety precautions like wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing and frequently washing their hands.

Tulsa officials on Friday said the city and county are ready to follow the state into phase three of a reopening plan on Monday.

As of Friday, Tulsa County had 983 total confirmed cases of COVID-19, 158 active cases and 51 deaths. Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Doctor Bruce Dart said the county's case trend is almost flat and hospitalization rates are trending up but remain manageable.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said he does not have the same concerns proceeding to phase three as he did going into phase one, however, because the main benchmark is hospital capacity.

THD

Tulsa County restaurants that reopen their dining rooms Friday must keep parties 6 feet apart, according to guidance from the Tulsa Health Department.

That will be one of the most noticeable changes.

Libby Billings courtesy Libby Billings; Thomas Hunter courtesy Oklahoma Restaurant Association

Following prolonged mandated closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, and with the blessings of both Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and a reluctant Mayor G.T. Bynum, Tulsa restaurants will be permitted starting Friday to welcome guests back to eat in their dining rooms.

Not too many are seizing that opportunity, though.

"Absolutely not," said restaurateur Libby Billings, whose downtown Tulsa eateries include The Vault, Roppongi, and Elote. 

Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department, told the Tulsa World on Monday that each patient in Tulsa County who tests positive for COVID-19 provides an average of 36 potentially exposed persons for the department to trace.

Nearly two dozen business, nonprofit and health leaders will help plan the reopening of Tulsa’s economy after the COVID-19 threat begins to decline.

The Mayor's Economic Recovery Advisory Committee in partnership with the Tulsa Regional Chamber will look at steps other cities and states are taking to come up with a phased approach for Tulsa.

Courtesy

Mayor G.T. Bynum said Tuesday he will follow the Tulsa Health Department’s guidance on when to start lifting restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

President Donald Trump wants to reopen the U.S. on May 1, which health experts have warned may be unrealistic.

Bynum said he will only act after infection and hospitalizations rates start declining, and restrictions will be loosened slowly.

Oklahoma State Department of Health

The COVID-19 social distancing and symptom guidelines are provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. For information and updates visit CORONAVIRUS.HEALTH.OK.GOV. You can call the call center at 877-215-8396 or 2-1-1. Visit HERE for the symptom checker.